Thursday, August 5, 2010

Done work, time to play!

On July 30th I completed my last day of bird work in Revelstoke. I had a great time up there and saw lots of birds but now that it's August I reeeeeeally need to start birding the coast. Speaking of which, I just got back from a day or two trip down to Vancouver where I FINALLY caught up with the elusive Dunbar COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD. After about an hour of watching feeders I (completely by chance) spotted it perched on a clothes-line in another yard. It perched for only a few seconds (enough to get this crappy photo) then disappeared. I haven't heard anyone comment on the bird's vocalizations but this bird was calling/singing fairly frequently during its brief appearance. Similar to the Anna's song but also different in quality and pattern... hard to describe of course! Please let me know if you (the reader) have any experience with Costa's Hummingbird vocalization or even hybrid Costa's x Anna's song as this seems to be an under-documented phenomenon. Aside from the song, the bird appears to be a classic Costa's Hummingbird. The lateral extensions to the gorget aren't extremely long but the prominent white brow and cheek patch stand out, and in the photo you may note the green nape and short wing and tail morphology.

Thank you Dave C for showing me around!

The next day (Aug 3) I teamed up with Ilya Pov for some Boundary Bay area shorebirding. Numbers were decent with lots of Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers (1 molting golden plover sp. mixed in; long p-proj. but otherwise Pacific in looks), a few groups of peeps including a few bigger PECTORAL and BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS (apparently recent arrivals).

My only year bird for the day was a lone RUDDY TURNSTONE handing out with the Blackies at the Ferry Jetty (pictured). An attractive dude fo sho!

I tried for Green Heron at Ambleside in West Van the next morning but no luck. Will have to spend more time on this species next week when I come down again for a longer period.

Briefly back in the Okanagan, gearing up for a Kootenays trip: Forster's Tern, Wild Turkey, and Great Egret are the targets!



  1. A longish primary projection is ok for Pacific. This particular bird could be molting tertials, which would also enhance this look. I've seen birds with longer primary projection past the tertials and longer wing projection past the tail tip than is classic for Pacific, but otherwise are spot-on for Pac. I've seen this both locally and in Burma, and think that this particular field mark is over-emphasized here in North America. Just my 2 cents. Got the Costa's tonight and could see no visible signs of hybridization, though my look was quite brief and I couldn't get any pics.

  2. Thanks for the comments Nathan. Yes I have since been studying the molt patterns of Americans and Pacifics (online photos mostly) and feel comfortable with the Pacific ID. And I thought American was supposed to be the default species! Maybe once the juvies arrive...